Holistic Choices for Pets with Cancer

by Dr. Kimberly Weiss

Today’s environment has become a toxic stew of pollutants, with people and their pets exposed to pesticides, herbicides, tobacco products and food additives. Is it any wonder that cancer rates among people and their pets are at an all-time high, and getting higher? Western medicine excels at analyzing symptoms and designing drugs to treat them. Unfortunately, classic Western medicine treatment for cancer consists primarily of introducing poisons into the patient. These poisons are targeted at the cancer, with the hope that they will kill the cancer before they kill the patient.

Holistic medicine treats the whole animal, re-establishing whole-body health and balance. Unfortunately, most veterinarians that are trained in traditional medicine are unaware of holistic alternatives for treating cancer. However, now that many scientifically rigorous studies are proving the efficacy of holistic treatments, Western-trained veterinarians are more open than ever to a broad-spectrum approach to healing pets.

Otzi, a 5,300-year-old mummy discovered in Austria, was found with tattoos on or near classic acupuncture points. While many believe this find indicates that acupuncture has been an effective healing tool for almost 6,000 years, recently published scientific studies are finally finding out why it works. From neurologically induced endorphin response to mechanical stress-induced gene expression, the Western scientific community is enthusiastically investigating the way that acupuncture encourages the body to heal itself. There are many forms of acupuncture, but for the most part they promote the same responses: decreased pain and nausea (due to either the cancer or Western-style cancer treatment), stimulation of the immune and circulatory systems and increased appetite. All of these effects help pets fight cancer and bolster their general health.

Chiropractic plays a more supportive role in the fight against cancer by removing extraneous stressors from the body. When the spine and other joints are misaligned, the body responds by inducing an inflammation response. The inflammation is part of the body’s attempt to use the immune system to fight a perceived threat to its health. If a pet is otherwise healthy, he or she has the resources to spare and can often compensate. But if the pet has cancer, the inflammatory response is using resources badly needed elsewhere. A trained and certified veterinary chiropractor can often find and reduce the misalignment, reducing the inflammation and pain and helping the pet focus on fighting the cancer.

As with any other profession, it is important to ensure that a veterinarian is properly trained and certified. The following websites maintain rosters of qualified doctors: American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AnimalChiropractic.org), American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA.org), International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS.org) and the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM.com).

There are many modalities available to treat pets, and one treatment does not fit all. Do the research and find a licensed holistic veterinarian.

Dr. Kimberly Weiss is the owner of Healing Hands Veterinary Wellness Center, 1916 NW 39th St., OKC. She offers chiropractic, acupuncture, laser therapy, essential oils and herbs, as well as being a full-service Western practice with digital X-rays and ultrasound. For more information, call 405-525-2255.

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